The other day I found the website of a traveling preacher I once invited to come to an All State Youth Retreat that I was running. His name was Scott Mitchell. He had attended Tennessee Temple University and while there had found himself wandering from God. During his senior year he repented and came back to God. God began to give Scott a greater and greater desire to be used by Him. One night Scott found himself tremendously moved by God. His heart was made heavy to be used by God for His kingdom. Scott found himself blurting out these words, “Even if it means taking my legs, I want to be used by you.” Where that came from, Scott was unsure. Several days later Scott was out hiking with his friends and they were out later than they wanted to be. It began to become dark. Scott walked off a ten foot cliff and fell directly on a pyramid shaped rock. God had done just as Scott had prayed and he took from him the use of his legs.
In Dallas, Texas there is a young pastor named Matt Chandler. God was using Matt in amazing ways and his church was packed with young people. As Matt prayed, God burdened his heart for the people of his church. Matt believed that many of these young people were not prepared for times of suffering in their lives. Matt began to preach a series of messages designed to teach a Biblical view of suffering. A short time later Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was given two to three years to live. Matt realizes now (it has been three years and the latest scan came back clean) that God was in reality preparing him to suffer and be an example to his people.
As you read each of these men’s testimony, you quickly realize that God has sustained their faith through a belief that it was not enough to believe that God knew about their situations beforehand. It was not enough to believe that God allowed these times of suffering in their lives. Each of these men’s testimony shouts that what brings them joy and peace is knowing that God was in complete control of all things. These times of suffering are a gift from God. They did not randomly happen and then God did what God does and made lemonade out of lemons. God chose these times specifically for them. God prepared each of their hearts beforehand, not because He simply knew what was going to happen, but because He was choosing what to bring into their lives.
This type of belief can be called a High View of God. It is a belief that God is totally different and other than us. It is a view that God is God centered and not man centered. It is a view of God that worships his holiness and does not call Him, “The man upstairs”. It is a view of God that recognizes His complete sovereignty over all. This sovereignty does not bring anger or despair but brings a comfort that God was not caught by surprise but has brought down one of his good and perfect gifts into our lives. He is so Holy, Perfect, Loving, Gracious, Wise, etc. that what He has brought into our lives is what is best for us to be able to shine a light on to His glory. This kind of view of God is what will direct and guide our worship toward Him. Do our songs and desires in worship seek to lift God up or do they seek to satisfy our desires? Is our worship passionate? Are our emotions driven by who God is or is our worship stale and emotionally driven by tunes and man centered truths designed to tell us what we get from God?
Scott’s life verse is Psalm 37:23,24, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong for the Lord upholds his hand.” Scott believes that God established his steps and his misstep. He now sees how God has been upholding his hand for all these years. God did not leave Scott abandoned on that rock but extended His hand out to Scott. He helped him leave that rock and God has held Scott’s faith upright in his walk with God these past 30 years. God is granting the desires of Scott’s heart and is giving him a great ministry in the kingdom of God. Although I knew Scott for just a brief moment of his life, I look forward to running the streets of gold with him for all of eternity. God has kept Scott faithful during his brief and momentary affliction (compared to eternity) and God will then reward Scott with an eternity full of running and jumping.